Bollington Festival Music Theatre Update for 2023-2024
Cheshire’s unique performance group for 7-13s
The Music Theatre has been in existence since 1986 and only Covid prevented it meeting, rehearsing and performing at least twice a year ever since. It enjoyed a new lease of life after the strange times of the pandemic, meeting during Autumn 2021 and Spring 2023. While public performances proved impractical, the young cast showed parents what they’d achieved at a rehearsal introducing stage, costumes, props, blackout, lighting and sound in November 2021 (Tales of the Christmas Travellers) in April 2022 (Daisy Daisy) and in November 2022 (Lucky Lucky) It’s hoped to resume public performances from March 2023, dependent on there being enough attendees.
For the time being, BFMT membership is FREE, thanks to the generosity of Bollington Arts Centre, a charity run by volunteers which wishes to encourage young performers and innovative theatre. But parents are asked to donate, usually at the final session. All monies received go towards covering the cost of scripts, publicity, breaktime refreshments, and items for costumes and props. Thanks to parents’ generosity, even in the time regrouping since Covid, BFMT was able to pay a useful sum back to the Arts Centre.
All the dates and content between January 2023 and May 2023 are in a glossy folded leaflet now circulating in the area or downloadable here Bollington Festival Music Theatre 23-24 Season. Please see the Events page for details of these as they appear or email email@example.com to request more information.
Planned for the next 18 months are;
- January 15 2023 – The first Taster session will include (the right sort of eggs permitting!) a chance to make Pace Eggs that feature in…
- March 19 2023 – Peg’s Eggs – a local tale set in Victorian Bollington, partly about eggs and partly about who you should invite to a party!
- Autumn 2023 – Jeanne’s Noël – Christmas with the young French shepherdess who’d become Joan of Arc, warrior and national heroine
- Spring 2024 – Get in the queue, James! Bollington Festival 2024 production about James Chadwick, born to weavers on Clarke Lane, who became one of the world’s greatest physicists – by getting in the wrong queue!
The Music Theatre rehearses and performs at the Arts Centre, and has been in every Bollington Festival since taking part in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in 1986. There are always costumes, props, stage lighting, words and live music to help tell the stories. There are no auditions to join. Everyone who comes along can be in the show, and casting is decided as part of the rehearsal process. Quite often, actors find themselves sharing a large part or taking on more than one small role.
The group’s founder and director Donald Judge writes regularly for the group. Several of his works – like Peg’s Eggs and Get in the Queue, James! are set in Bollington and draw on the town’s unique character and history. Others are inspired by folk tales (and folk music), myths and legends, and true stories from Britain, Europe and further afield. Donald was a primary school teacher for many years and so uses to discussing issues raised in the stories with children of the age group involved. The cast is encouraging to empathise and to consider the characters’ personalities, motives and actions. In rehearsals, the emphasis is on teamwork, patience, and developing musical and theatrical skills in a relaxed, supportive environment. The format of the shows helps to keep everyone involved as much as possible throughout the rehearsals and the performance.
The stories often involve some adult characters, almost always played by the children, which is helped by having a wide age group. Children often surprise themselves with what they can achieve in a short rehearsal time, while a frequent comment from parents is that being a part of the group raises their child’s confidence.
Please keep an eye on the Events page for confirmation of dates, times and further details.